Press Round-Up: JAN.08.08
Ben Kuzma said Markus Naslund is excited over Coach Alain Vigneault’s latest line shuffle, that attempts to initiate more offensive chances and produce more goals.
“Markus Naslund welcomed another Alain Vigneault line shuffle Monday in hopes of jump-starting the Vancouver Canucks captain and getting production from more than one trio for a tough stretch of nine games in 16 days,” said Kuzma.
“Naslund hasn't scored in seven games and has two goals in his last 17 outings, both in a Dec. 18 win over New Jersey.”
“Tonight, he'll skate with Jason Jaffray and Taylor Pyatt against the New York Islanders while rookie Mason Raymond is reunited with Henrik and Daniel Sedin.”
"I'm all for it," said Naslund, who has five assists in his last seven games. "I don't know if it's predictability or that you just get tired at a certain point. But that's me. I've felt a little tired lately and Danny is still producing and the twins are still making plays."
"I don't think we've had that jump that you need to beat guys," added Naslund. "They [opposition] all know we're there to score goals and you have to have that extra little jump when you get a step on a guy."
“Vigneault said the switch has a lot to do with form and function. The coach favours keeping duos intact and hopes Naslund and Pyatt can develop offensive chemistry,” said Kuzma.
"Taylor has been one of most consistent forwards lately in terms of generating offence and chances and going to those tough areas," Vigneault said.
“Pyatt has two goals and 13 shots his last five games,” reports Kuzma.
“Vigneault added that any further line dancing will depend on how the opposition treats the Sedins.”
“Outstanding rookie Alex Edler left the ice late in Monday's practice with back spasms. He was immediately dispatched to the chiropractor to determine the severity of the ailment. Edler leads the Canucks in plus-minus with a lofty plus-17,” said Pap.
"It happened just at the end of practice, on the last drill, so I'm not exactly sure how serious it is at this point," said Canuck coach Alain Vigneault.
“If Edler can't go tonight against the New York Islanders, Nathan McIver will most likely be summoned from the AHL's Manitoba Moose. According to Vigneault, Moose coach Scott Arniel has been touting the hard-nosed McIver,” said Pap.
Gordon MacIntyre said a trade ten years ago set the foundation for the current Canuck roster.
“When Keenan traded Trevor Linden to the New York Islanders a decade ago he set in motion an indirect process that saw the return of Linden, the drafting of the Sedins and the acquisition of Roberto Luongo,” said MacIntyre.
“Coles Notes version: Bryan McCabe became Daniel Sedin and allowed him to keep playing with Henrik (or vice-versa); Todd Bertuzzi became Roberto Luongo.”
"Yeah, it's sort of connected, in a roundabout way," Linden said on Monday, having not really given it much thought until asked about the several degrees of separation outlined in the accompanying box. "But you can look around the league and it's all connected."
“Here's a step-by-step guide to how the Islanders helped the Canucks get to where they are today (with a nod to Mike Keenan, Brian Burke and Dave Nonis),” reports MacIntyre:
“Feb. 6, 1998 -- Keenan trades Trevor Linden to the Isles for Bryan McCabe, Todd Bertuzzi and a third-round pick (Jarkko Ruutu).”
“June 26, 1999 -- Burke acquires the No. 4 pick from Chicago for McAbe and Vancouver's first-round pick in '00 (Pavel Vorobiev).”
“Burke acquires the No. 1 pick from Tampa Bay for the No. 4 pick (Pavel Brendl to New York Rangers) and two third-round picks.”
“Burke acquires the No. 2 pick (Daniel Sedin) and a third-round pick (Thatcher Bell) from Atlanta for the No. 1 pick (Patrik Stefan).”
“Burke selects Henrik Sedin with the Canucks No. 3-overall pick.”
“Nov. 10, 2001 -- Burke trades first- (Boyd Gordon) and third-round picks to Washington for Trevor Linden and a second-round pick (Kiril Koltsov in '02).”
“June 23, 2006 -- Nonis trades Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld to Florida; Keenan sends back Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round '06 pick (Sergei Shirokov).”
“That's how Keenan's 10-year-old Linden trade brought Luongo and both Sedins -- and Linden again -- into the fold.”
“Mitchell is Vancouver's only top-four blueliner who hasn't had a serious injury this season. Kevin Bieksa (calf) has been out since Nov. 1 and Mattias Ohlund (concussion) since Dec. 22. Sami Salo missed most of October and November with wrist and facial injuries,” said MacIntyre.
“With one goal this season, thus maintaining his scoring average from the last three years, Mitchell's impact is easy to overlook. But the 30-year-old is part of the glue that kept the Canucks together when Bieksa and Salo were injured the same night.”
“By luring opposing forwards with a false sense of space, then snatching it away, Mitchell has become one of the National Hockey League's premier shutdown defenders and a key reason the Canucks have thrived despite missing key defencemen all season,” said MacIntyre.
"I call it taking the candy," Mitchell said Monday, explaining his ability to bait opposing forwards. "The game of hockey is all about putting someone in position where they react, so they're taking the candy.”
"When I have my gap [defending an opposing forward], I hold my stick real close to my body, so it looks like there's a lot of ice in front of me. The forward wants to make his move as close to the defenceman as possible because he wants the defenceman to bite so [the forward] can go around him. They come in to make a move -- they take the candy -- but then I move my stick out and poke the puck away. On a rush, that's how I play it.”
"He's about the best I've coached with his stick, in terms of deflecting passes and putting guys at bad angles and taking away time and space. He does all that with his stick." "A lot of our success has come from that factor -- that Willie and whoever his partner is that night have done a wonderful job of shutting down the opposition's top players and top line," assistant coach Rick Bowness said. "That has been absolutely crucial to our success.”
TSN.ca reported that the Northwest superstars Roberto Luongo and Jerome Ignila are heading to Atlanta with starting spots for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game.
“Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo, Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and Montreal Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov are going to Atlanta,” said TSN.ac
“All five players have been voted into the starting lineups for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, to be played at Philips Arena on Jan. 27.”
Complete rosters for the game will be announced later this week. Western All-Stars will be released on Thursday, while candidates from the East will be revealed Friday. Remaining All-Star spots are selected by the league’s General Managers and the NHL's hockey operations department.